Well with a week to go until the European elections, it doesn’t really feel like there is an election on. Yesterday saw the arrival of only the third piece of propaganda to come through the door. And its from the Conservative’s. It says “Vote For Change” and has a picture of Cameron on the front. Sadly its not big enough for an effigy on Bonfire Night. There’s another picture on the inside with the MEP Struan Stevenson and Annabelle Goldie.
Inside is some more bare faced spin, and half baked promises. I’m not really sure how voting Tory will somehow send the message that we want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but there is stuff here which is economical with the actuality. For example, voting Tory will, apparently, protect jobs. Jobs will be protected, not by creating new jobs or trying to help the economy, but by removing workers rights. We have the Working Time Directive for a reason, and it is to prevent workers from being pressed into working for longer than they are ready for. After all Hewlett Packard are not leaving Erskine just because of Working Time, the Czech Republic has the same EU directives that we do. History tells us that post Thatcher, the Tories, upon hearing of this news, would hold their hands up and blame the Market. Much in the fashion of an Italian defender caught fouling an opposing forward.
Unlike the BNP and UKIP, the Conservatives have included a list of pledges. They want to cut European red tape & curb the “wasteful” EU budget, continue the reform of the most corrupt legislature outside of the United States, all tying in with key Conservative themes. There are other pledges emerging which have not been key Tory themes - “Protect British consumers” and a pledge to tackle global poverty and climate change are traditional Labour touchstones. I suppose the rationale is that these values have been abandoned when Labour became New. Not sure how serious they are with these pledges.
Given the Conservatives position in the European Parliament, in that they are seeking to leave the main Centre-Right group in the Parliament, it will be difficult for the Tories to enact any of these policies. This puts the Tories in the same place as UKIP, in asking us to vote for small groups with no influence. Can’t think why this isn’t mentioned in their leaflet.
As I said, it’s difficult to tell who, if I am, to vote for. Politicians, it’s over to you.